BY JIM MALONE – Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has formally launched her campaign for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. Bachmann is not the best known Republican running for president for next year, but she does have a growing national following among conservative voters who are looking for an alternative to the current front runner, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
Michele Bachmann kicked off her presidential campaign in the town where she was born, Waterloo, Iowa. “We can win in 2012 and we will win!” she exclaimed.
Bachmann has been elected to Congress three times from neighboring Minnesota, but her Iowa roots could help her next year when Iowa begins the presidential nominating process with its presidential party caucuses, now set for February.
Polls indicate close run with Romney
Bachmann got some good news in the latest Des Moines Register poll that found her nearly tied with Mitt Romney for the top choice among Iowa Republicans. Romney had 23 percent support followed closely by Bachmann at 22 percent. The rest of the Republican field lagged behind.
Bachmann hopes to capitalize on her support among two key Republican voting groups in the race for the 2012 nomination, social conservatives and Tea Party activists pushing for a smaller central government.
“Government thinks they know better how to make a better life for us. They think they create jobs. They even think they can make us healthier. But that is not the case. We have to recapture the founder’s vision of a constitutionally conservative government if we are to secure the promise for the future,” she said.
Like many other Republican presidential candidates, Bachmann contends the image of the United States around the world has declined under the leadership of President Barack Obama.
“And we can not afford four more years of a foreign policy with a president who leads from behind and who does not stand up for our friends like Israel, and who too often fails to stand against our enemies,” she stated. “We cannot afford four more years of Barack Obama!”
Political experts say Bachmann made a strong showing at the most recent Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire and the latest poll results suggest she has vaulted into the top tier of candidates that includes Mitt Romney.
Some of Bachmann’s gain may be coming at the expense of former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty. He was seen by many analysts as a potentially strong contender when he first got into the race.
Nominee, still too early to call
But Pawlenty only received six-percent support in the Des Moines Register poll in Iowa even though he has intensively campaigned there for months.
Pawlenty spoke on NBC’s Today program. “These early polls are not very good predictors of how the race is going to come out. If they were we would have Hillary Clinton as president. So there is still plenty of time to do well in Iowa and beyond,” he said.
Political analysts note the 2012 presidential campaign is still in its early stages and the actual process of selecting a nominee will not begin until early next year.
But Michele Bachmann’s early bump in the polls and her proven ability to raise campaign funds should make her a formidable candidate in a crowded Republican presidential field.